Monday, January 21, 2013

The Ultimate Treasure

No, it is not that cold here, thankfully.  That's just the name of the retreat I was at all weekend and the reason I was MIA from the blog world for awhile.

Let me just say that the break was so nice.  Even though I haven't been blogging for that long, I already feel like it's a whirlpool that is sucking me deeper and deeper.  Don't get me wrong, it's a fun and exciting whirlpool (most of the time), but it's a whirlpool nonetheless.  I have to give props to the mega-bloggers out there who have tons of followers and successful TpT stores.  I don't know how they do it.

All that being said, this weekend was a great time of rejuvenation for me.  I didn't get much sleep, but I got spiritual and social refreshment.

The conference was up at Camp of the Woods in beautiful upstate New York.  Josh and I drove up  Friday afternoon along with another car full of friends from my church.  We arrived around 9:00 p.m. and got right into the activity.

The first night there were ice breakers, which were actually quite tedious and time-consuming.  All of us were tired and didn't feel like telling a bunch of strangers what we would do with a million dollars.  In answer to the question, "which one of the Seven Dwarfs are you?" I definitely answered Sleepy!

Once all of that was out of the way, we got to hear an introductory message from the speaker Nate Bramsen.  He is a missionary in Niger, which apparently is pronounced nee-ZHAIR or something like that.  They speak French there.  Who knew?  I should have, but didn't.

Anyways, he got us all pumped for a great week of hearing from God and reflecting on our lives.  The topic for the weekend was going to be "The Ultimate Treasure."

The next morning, we got up, had breakfast, had some awesome worship time, and got right into session 1: "Diagnosing Your Treasure."  The focus passage was Matthew 6:19-24, in which Jesus talks about not "laying up treasure on earth...but laying up treasure in Heaven."

Here are some of the notes I wrote.  I was very convicted by a lot of the questions.

  • The world distracts us from the ultimate purpose of knowing why we are here.
  • Five Ways to Diagnose Your Treasure:
    • Where is your attention?  What do you focus on?  What consumes your thoughts?  
    • Where is your affection?  What do you love?
    • What guides your attitude?
    • Where is your anticipation?  What do you spend your time planning?
    • Where are my assets?  What do I spend my money and resources on?

As a teacher, I feel like the answer to most of the questions involved lesson planning, grading, blogging, buying supplies etc.  Those are all good things, but they are not what should drive my life.  I need to remember that teaching is my calling from God, but that in order for me to be successful at it, I need to rely on God because He is the source of that calling.  I feel like my "To Do List" has been taking too much of my attention lately.  I am going to burn out if I don't take the time to refresh myself and find balance like I resolved to do this year.

After that intense session, I was ready for a break to think things over and to go SKIING!!!

I LOVE skiing.  I have only gone just over a handful of times, but I always enjoy it.  Even though I am not a pro, I can get around the Beginner and Intermediate hills successfully, and have a blast racing down the snowy hills.  Well, maybe not racing, but going at a decent pace.  :-)

The only thing I was nervous about for this skiing trip was that it was Josh's first time skiing.  Ever.  

To make things more interesting, when we got to Oak Mountain  and discovered that the Bunny Hill was CLOSED!!!  That meant, not getting acclimated for me and no practice for Josh.

We ended up going up the lift and going down a beginner hill quite slowly, so that he could practice and fall and practice some more.  After a few tries, he got the hang of things, and we had a great rest of the day enjoying the slopes!

That night, we had another intense session with Nate.  He spoke about "Discovering the Treasure" of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how when we discover it, we must make a decision to believe it or not, and then to abandon all to take up our cross to follow Jesus.  The message made me think of one of my all time favorite songs, "Come to the Well" by Casting Crowns.

I love that song so much, that I even made a mug with the lyrics on it.

Nate's final message, on Sunday morning, was about "Declaring Our Treasure."  We as Christians need to embrace the fact that life as a Christ follower is a life of brokenness, and that as we become more broken, we learn to rely on Christ more and more.  Our brokenness and humility does not come from our own efforts, but from pursuing Christ and allowing Him to give us His heart, eyes, hands, and feet.  We are merely "jars of clay" (2. Cor. 4:7-11) that are broken to allow Christ's light to shine forth from our lives.

Needless to say, I was very convicted and challenged again.  I am beginning to realize how prideful I am in trying to be in control and self-reliant, rather than submitting to God and walking with Him day by day.  I think that I am doing so many good things, but I am giving myself the credit for them, rather than turning my blessings back into praise.  

Moving forward, I am hoping to spend more time pursuing Christ and His will, rather than stressing over every thing I "need/have" to do.  Yes, I want to do my best at my work, but that should be in order to honor God and shine His light to the world, not to earn recognition from man.

Wow, thanks for sticking with me through a long post.  Please comment if you have the time.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. "I need to remember that teaching is my calling from God, but that in order for me to be successful at it, I need to rely on God because He is the source of that calling."

    Very insightful thought! :)